Food pantry use is rising

 

With the approach of winter and the holidays, the Mettowee Valley Ecumenical Food Pantry is seeing a surge in demand for its services.

“The demand has been increasing, no doubt about it,” said JoAnn Holland, a volunteer at the pantry. “We’re helping 30 or 40 more families than this time last year.”

The 15-year food pantry veteran said the same families aren’t coming in each month, but approximately 150 families use the food pantry to stretch their monthly food budgets. 

Run out of the basement of St. Mary’s Church on Bulkley Avenue by the Granville Area Ecumenical Council, the pantry has seen a steady increase in usage since the economic downturn.

“They just can’t stretch it as far and food stamps don’t go as far as they used to,” Holland said.

With seasonal slowdowns in local industry more acute this year, Holland said, many household budgets are being stretched to the breaking point due to the higher bills for heat and electricity that come with living in a cold-weather climate.

 “We used to go three or four times a year and now we go every month,” Holland said, referring to the regional food bank where the pantry gets a large part of its supplies that don’t come from donations.

Financial donations help the pantry greatly, since it can buy items in bulk such as meat for pennies on the dollar and augment donated goods.

Based on what he has heard from others, the Rev. Thomas Zelker of St. Mary’s Church said, the Bulkley Avenue food pantry has been doing better than many in the area.

 “Everybody’s just been pitching in to keep this going,” Zelker said.

He credits the community for its continued enthusiastic support of the pantry.

Recent donations from organizations such as the Boy Scouts, the Granville Lions Club, the U.S. Postal Service and others have kept the shelves well-stocked, augmenting the weekly collections that area churches take in.

Holland said the church collections often bring in the additional necessity items that don’t always come from a food pantry such as tooth brushes or deodorant and other toiletries.

Some helpers just bring food to the pantry, at all hours of the day or night.

Zelker said those just dropping off food often come by without notice and leave items for the food pantry. He said he has to be careful after the weather turns cold to avoid having an unannounced dropped-off item freeze before it is brought inside.

The food pantry serves the same area as the Granville School District, Holland said, and many people in the area probably qualify for its services but do not realize it.

The pantry stopped providing holiday baskets many years ago, she said, and instead focuses on month-to-month aid for those in need.

“We do monthly baskets to augment a food budget,” she said.

 

 

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hampton Firehouse sale looms

Hampton firehouse

By Joshua Bassett Barring someone petitioning for a public referendum within 30 days of May 20, the Hampton Town Board […]

Whitehall Elementary honors fallen heroes

Winners of the citizenship awards

By Dan King Although the weather started chilly on Thursday, it turned nice just in time for the annual Whitehall […]

Huge turnout for Whitehall parade

Charles Austin and Henry Gurney escort Cathy Aiken to place the wreath

By Dan King “I didn’t even know there were this many people in Whitehall,” a spectator said as he watched […]

Granville High School honors fallen soldiers

good 4

By Joshua Bassett Granville High School’s gym was quiet Friday afternoon as many gathered there to give thanks to the […]

Hundreds join in Granville parade

good 8

By Joshua Bassett Hundreds gathered Monday on Granville’s Main Street and in Veterans Park to honor and celebrate those lost […]

Car rally to boast more than just cars

According to organizers of the Penrhyn Engine Co. Car Rally in Middle Granville, they’ve seen it all over the years. […]

Beauty will be rewarded

The Slate Valley Garden Club is taking submissions for the organization’s annual beautification awards from now until August. Anyone with […]

Pratts question Hampton coverage

By Joshua Bassett During the public participation portion of a Hampton Town Board meeting last week, Arnie Pratt and his […]

Slate Valley Museum to host ‘spring tasting’

By Laura McCusker The Slate Valley Museum in Granville will host its first-ever Spring Tasting on the Alley on Saturday, […]

Granville FFA goes to convention

Granville FFA Convention pic

By Tara Cook New York State FFA 2014-2015 vice-president Seth Browe, was elected to be the 2015-2016 District 3 FFA […]

Rail Trail 5K this weekend

By Joshua Bassett The sixth annual Rail Trail 5K race takes place this Saturday, May 30. The race/walk begins at […]

Town, village join county efficiency plan

By Dan King Both the town and village of Whitehall have joined Washington County in a plan that aims to […]